Kosair Hospitals using tent to help with overflow

Posted by Amy Kelch - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - This cold and flu season is sending Kentuckiana kids on an adventure at Kosair Children's Hospital.

On February 13, Kosair's downtown and Brownsboro emergency rooms treated over 300 children. Since January, the two are averaging over 200 patients a day. That's double the typical volume. With so many kids needing care, the hospital needed to get creative.

"We are in a bed crisis," said Dr. Wright.

10 month old Jackson Thomas is still waiting for a room.

"We've been here about 14 hours," said Adam Thomas, Jackson's dad. "I think I've seen 6 different doctors, 11 different nurses."

Cis Gruebble, a nurse at Kosair, insists that staff in a children's hospital will do whatever it takes to make sure kids in our community are cared for, even if it means pitching a tent.

"Obviously," said Dr. Wright, "really critically ill children are not going to go in the tent."

But for children needing acute care, Dr. Wright said it's like a normal doctor's office visit.

"You got a sore throat or ear ache," said Dr. Wright, "you get that diagnosed, you get your prescription and you go home."

Located just outside the ER, the tent is heated. It houses 16 bays and beds, computers and most importantly, staff to provide appropriate care.

"It helps us consolidate," said Dr. Wright, "our staff, our resources and our supplies."

With the help of the tent, the ER becomes more efficient by cutting wait times in half and allowing the sickest little patients to get the quickest possible care.

"I know nothing about medical issues," said Adam Thomas, "but I know Jackson is in the best hands possible because I've seen him improve in the past 6 hours. That right there is all that I need."

Dr. Wright said they're treating all sorts of viruses right now, including flu, rhinovirus, and RSV (a GI bug). It's the first time they've used the city owned tent for ER patients. Dr. Wright said this experience is good practice should it ever be needed for a major disaster or epidemic.

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